Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 1980–1995 | Cite as

Religiosity and Coping: Racial Stigma and Psychological Well-Being among African American Girls

  • Sheretta T. Butler-Barnes
  • Pamela P. Martin
  • Elan C. Hope
  • Nikeea Copeland-Linder
  • Marquisha Lawrence Scott
Original Paper


This study examined how having a relationship with God served as a protective factor between racial stigma beliefs and psychological well-being. A church sample of African American adolescent girls (N = 117, Mage= 15) completed measures on racial stigma, psychological well-being, and reports on having a relationship with God. After controlling for adolescent age, family income, and church attendance, positive racial beliefs and having a relationship with God were associated with a healthier psychological well-being. Findings also revealed that having a relationship with God and internalizing healthier racial beliefs were associated with a healthier psychological well-being, whereas reporting higher levels of having a relationship with God served as a protective factor for African American girls when internalizing moderate levels of racial stigma. Overall, results suggest that having a relationship with God can serve as a coping mechanism and promote a healthier psychological well-being for African American adolescent girls.


African American girls Religiosity Racial stigma beliefs Psychological well-being 



This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, Grant No. 0109206. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Science Foundation. We thank the churches and families for their support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheretta T. Butler-Barnes
    • 1
  • Pamela P. Martin
    • 2
  • Elan C. Hope
    • 3
  • Nikeea Copeland-Linder
    • 4
  • Marquisha Lawrence Scott
    • 5
  1. 1.George Warren Brown School of Social WorkWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Prairie View A&M UniversityPrairie ViewUSA
  3. 3.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  4. 4.Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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